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Dapper Bruce Lafitte in London

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until October 27, 2018

"Walking from New Orleans" presents felt-tip pen drawings on paper from New Orleans-based artist Dapper Bruce Lafitte.

87 Lever St, London EC1V 3RA 

From Arcade's website:
Dapper Bruce Lafitte grew up in the Lafitte Housing Development in the 6th Ward of New Orleans. This community has inspired his art so much that he has taken the name Dapper Bruce Lafitte to acknowledge its impact on his life. This inspiration is also apparent when you view Bruce’s vibrantly detailed drawings chronicling his life in New Orleans. While Bruce is not shy about tackling the gritty subjects of poverty and racism, his art also documents the joyful parts of his life in the city. 

Dapper Bruce Lafitte is an artist whose work is capable of breaking down the partition which separates folk art from fine art once and for all. These are big issues: how we define and reduce our culture through effective catch phrases and ineffective oppositions like fine versus folk, outsider versus insider, trained versus self-taught or vernacular. All these characterizations ring hollow today. They are fraught with the prejudices and contradictions of class and racial manipulation, no less so when they are deployed in the study of the liberal humanities. Lafitte escapes these confines in several ways. Through his connection to the street, public art and community rebuilding, he has focused on his local sub-cultures and folk-cultures, with the mind of a contemporary urbanist. 

His visual dynamics recall both Futurist and Russian Suprematist ideas of movement, crowds as movements. Like Busby Berkeley, Eisenstein, or socialist stadium spectacles, Lafitte renders a public in motion, a processional choreography defined by the streets, and thus an art of the streets, though not street art per se. The art world still struggles to define such phenomena. Born of a confluence of military marching forms and ancient religious processions, the parade form itself is rooted in the structure and image of the river, its forward flow, its bends and banks, just as it is reflected in the arterial systems on which both cities and human bodies rely. In depicting these resonant forms, Lafitte’s drawings illustrate human columns and patterns in the flows of power, transport, communication, revelry and rivalry. 

Excerpt from Erin McNutt, “Dapper Bruce Lafitte and the Grittier Side of Art”, New Orleans Canvas Magazine, 04.03.2018 


Bruce Dapper Lafitte (1972, US) 

Dapper Bruce Lafitte’s work records a singular personal trajectory in a grander, historically significant moment. A self-trained artist, he began making and showing work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to commemorate the then decimated street culture of parades and marching bands of the city. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, BE (2018), Atlanta Contemporary (2016) curated by Daniel Fuller; Ohr-O’Keefe Museum, Biloxi (2015) MS; Vacant Gallery, Tokyo, JP (2012) and was part of “Prospect 2.0” the New Orleans Biennial (2013) curated by Dan Cameron. In 2009 he was a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award. This is Lafitte’s first exhibition in the UK.